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KARACHI: Trade bodies have urged Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah to reconsider the decision of complete lockdown imposed in Karachi from July 31 to August 8.

President of Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) Mian Naser Hayat Maggo has appealed to Sindh government to reconsider lockdown

decision and expressed fear that the industry will be destroyed.

He said Pakistan’s economic hub Karachi should not be completely locked down and only solution of the issue is to open businesses with strict SOPs and encourage people to get vaccinated.

He said that all the industries should be allowed to open seven days a week and continue production.

Alarming Covid-19 situation in Karachi

He said restaurants should also be allowed 24 hours take-away and delivery, and in the public interest all grocery stores should be allowed to open seven days a week till 8pm.

He said if industries and other businesses closed completely they might not be able to pay wages.

He said the FPCCI as always ready to support Sindh government.

Chairman Businessmen Group (BMG) and former president of Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry (KCCI) Zubair Motiwala, who attended the provincial coronavirus taskforce meeting at the CM House on Friday, said, “We strongly oppose the lockdown strategy to deal with the pandemic as we believe that the only workable solution for minimizing the number of Covid-19 cases is to forcefully get the people vaccinated and ensure strict implementation of SOPs instead of imposing lockdown.

“In this regard, we stressed that the government should carry out aggressive vaccination campaign and take assistance from the Pakistan Army if needed in order to compel the masses to get vaccinated at the earliest,” he added while sharing the details of the meeting which was chaired by Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah and also attended by KCCI senior vice president Saqib Goodluck and other representatives of the business community.

Covid-19 situation in Karachi quite critical: CM

Zubair Motiwala said that it was also evident from presentation given during the meeting that 428 people lost their lives in the month of July, of whom only 46 were vaccinated and were of old age who were suffering from chronic diseases which was an ample proof that vaccine was the only weapon to defeat this pandemic.

He said that the chief minister agreed that the delivery service of restaurants would continue while the export-oriented industries and all their allied industries would also continue to operate.

The BMG chairman said that the small traders and shopkeepers had been facing a lot of problems due to lockdowns, and many businesses were on the verge of total collapse.

Hence, the government should try its best to minimize the grievances being faced by these shopkeepers.

He said, “These are challenging times, and every member of the civil society is facing problems due to the COVID crisis. Perhaps, it is time when the government should think about extending monetary help to citizens especially the small shopkeepers who are now in net debt position and even paying rents to owners of their business premises has really become difficult.”

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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